Human Rights Watch condemns attack on Nigerian Shiites

Youth set the residence of a Shi'a leader in Kaduna alight, on Wednesday, Octobr 11.
Youth set the residence of a Shi'a leader in Kaduna alight, on Wednesday, Octobr 11.

The Human Rights Watch has condemned the recent attack on the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, (IMN) and called on government to ensure accountability for violence against the group.

In a statement on Thursday, Human Rights Watch described the recent ban of the group as “The latest in a series of repressive actions by the Kaduna State government and Nigeria’s security forces targeting the group”.

“The ongoing mob attacks against adherents of the Shia religious faith across five northern Nigeria states is the latest in a string of abuses in which government forces have also been implicated,” said the statement by the group’s senior researcher, Nigeria, Mausi Segun.

“The move to ban the Shia umbrella body, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), by the Kaduna State government appears to have triggered a wave of discrimination and violence against Shia elsewhere in the country.

“Authorities should take urgent steps to respect the rights of Shia to security and religious freedom. They should also ensure accountability for violence against the group, including the killing of 347 IMN members by soldiers in Zaria in December 2015,” the statement said.

At least eight members of the IMN were killed during attacks in various states of the north on Wednesday.

Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Kebi states had earlier banned the group’s activities.

Four members of the Shi’a sect were earlier in the morning killed in the Tudun Wada area of the Kaduna South Local Government Area when some irate youth attacked the sect, and torched the residence of its leader.

The mob also demolished the Shi’ite’s Islamic school in the area.

The police in Sokoto said hoodlums killed a Shiite member in Tudun Wada in Sokoto North Local Government Area.

The News Agency of Nigeria quoted Mr. Sunusi as saying that the victim was “seriously beaten and killed, while his Toyota Avensis vehicle with registration number BRK 144 CM was burnt by the hoodlums”.

In Katsina State, the police said at least three persons died during a clash between its officers and members of the IMN in Funtua, Funtua Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Usman Abdullahi, said two policemen were injured during the clash.

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